Three “Mighty Men” of Evangelism
1843 – Robert Compton, Pastor of the Beulah Baptist Church in Russellville, Penn. wrote to fellow pastors, “[We are] now enjoying a precious revival-the effects of a protracted season…which commenced Oct. 9…We held the meeting every afternoon and night for three weeks…Last Lord’s day…the house was crowded to excess-the aisles, pulpit and every corner. The preaching has been pleasing, pointed, and powerful, being…attended with the convicting and converting Spirit of Almighty God.” Compton was commending the evangelistic ministry of Emerson Andrews who was born in Mansfield, Mass., on Nov. 24, 1806, the eldest son of James and Mercy Andrews, a very religious family with the family altar as the center of the home. The family moved to New Hampshire where tragedy struck in the form of typhoid. Emerson’s father, both brothers, and two sisters were lost in death. Emerson and his sisters lingered for weeks and finally lived. He entered Union College in N.Y. and heard a sermon by the Congregational Revivalist Ashael Nettleton and trusted Christ as Savior. He became persuaded of immersion and A.D. Gillette, pastor of the Baptist Church in Schenectady, N.Y. baptized him. His meetings were beyond supernatural. In 1843 a Baptist church in reading Penn. with 60 members saw 500 saved in an eight week protracted meeting with daily baptisms morning and night. Along with Jacob Knapp, Jabez Swann, Emerson Andrews would qualify as one of “David’s Mighty Men” of evangelism in 19th Century New England. [Emerson Andrews, Living Life (Boston: James H. Earle, 1872, pp. 198-99. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 553-55.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
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Nearly every house a house of prayer
1842 – Elder Jabez Smith Swan preached the last Sunday of a five week evangelistic effort that began on August 14 in Mystic, Conn. Those present said that he was truly ‘in the Spirit on the Lord’s day’, as he preached with great power. After the first baptism, there were daily baptisms in Mystic for twenty-six successive days, and sometimes twice daily. More than four hundred persons were baptized during that period. Almost every house was turned into a house of prayer. Swan was born in Stonington, Conn. on Feb. 23, 1800 and at fourteen had “given a good account of himself” as a powder boy in the defense of his town in the War of 1812. He moved to Lyme with his parents, Joshua and Esther and had a deep conversion experience when he was twenty-one years old and was baptized by Rev. William Palmer. He was called to preach, studied at the Hamilton Literary and Theological Institute, and was ordained to the gospel ministry on June 20, 1827. He pastored several churches but always returned to evangelism. He died in 1884 after seeing more than 10,000 conversions, most of them baptized. [F. Dennison, The Evangelist, or Life and Labors of Rev. Jabez S. Swan (Waterford, Conn.,: Wm. L. Peckham, 1873), pp. 193-95, 203-4. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 511-13]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
They Sought a Place of Refuge
Jailed for refusing to pay a bond
William Screven emigrated to Boston from Somerton, England, about the year 1668. He moved to Kittery in the Province of Maine. After Massachusetts acquired the area of Main, the authorities began to watch Screven closely because of his Baptist views.
Ultimately, Screven was charged first with not attending meetings on the Lord’s Day. Later he was charged with making blasphemous speeches against the “holy order of pedobaptism.” After spending some time in jail for refusing to pay a bond of £100.
On April 12, 1682, he was brought before the Court at York, and the examination resulted as follows:
- “This Court having considered the offensive speeches of William Screven, viz., his rash, inconsiderate words tending to blasphemy, do adjudge the delinquent for his offence to pay ten pounds into the treasury of the county or province. And further, the Court doth further discharge the said Screven under any pretence to keep any private exercise at his own house or elsewhere, upon the Lord’s days, either in Kittery or any other place within the limits of this province, and is for the future enjoined to observe the public worship of God in our public assemblies upon the Lord’s days according to the laws here established in this Province, upon such penalties as the law requires upon his neglect of the premises.”
Screven and his associates had now come to the conclusion that if at Kittery they could not have freedom to worship God according to the dictates of their consciences, they must seek that freedom elsewhere.
Dr. Dale R. Hart: Adapted from: Baptist History Homepage , ( Rev. William Screven and the Baptists at Kittery , By Henry S. Burrage, 1904 ) pp. 18-19